Dan Weber served in the Georgia State Senate from 2005 to 2011, representing North DeKalb and Southwest Gwinnett Counties. During his time in the Senate, Weber served as Chair of the Senate Education Committee. He has served as Executive Director of the Charter System Foundation for the past seven (7) years. Weber is an attorney with extensive experience working to resolve complex disputes involving commercial and industrial construction projects.

Pam Tallmadge, Executive Assistant for the Charter System Foundation has held this position from the inception of the organization in June of 2013. Prior to this position, she worked in her community mainly working within the education system to improve the educational environment for the children of DeKalb County and the State of Georgia. Pam’s past successes, in working with non-profit organizations, include the Dunwoody High School Community Association as a co-founder in 2000. She currently is an active Board member and serves as the organization’s Treasurer. Additionally, Pam was Co-Director and co-developer of the Dekalb County Public Schools Foundation. One of her most important areas of community educational work came because of the active role she played as one of three authors of the first conversion charter school in the State of Georgia, Peachtree Charter Middle School. The conversion school was effective after community input and State approval in the school year starting in 2001. Pam was the Governance Chair at Peachtree Middle School for two terms and currently sits on their foundation board as the community advisor. For several years, she assessed charter school petitions for the Georgia Department of Education advising the state in starting new charter schools in Georgia.

Pam is currently serving in her second term as an elected City Council member for the City of Dunwoody.    

Pam graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Music Education. Is married, has three grown boys who look for her “motherly advise” even when not requested. Is an active “gym rat” working out five days of the week. She enjoys time cooking and spending time at the beach.   

Dr. Taylor has served as superintendent of Calhoun City Schools for the past fourteen years. She was selected as Georgia Superintendent of the Year in 2014 and was a finalist for the National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators.

Taylor is proud to lead Calhoun City Schools, the 2016 Charter System of the Year. CCS has one of the highest district graduation rates at 100%. Dr. Taylor is a fervent supporter of Calhoun City Schools and also a product, graduating from Calhoun High School in 1986. She attained her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Shorter College and earned a master’s degree from West Georgia College with specialist and doctorate degrees in educational leadership from Sarasota University. Taylor was recognized by her peers as Teacher of the Year in 1996 and as Gordon County’s Young Careerist of the Year by the Calhoun Business and Professional Women in 1997.

Taylor is a lifelong learner who is active in her local community and serves in several capacities at the state and national level. She has been an educational leadership adjunct professor for Lincoln Memorial University, Valdosta State University, Berry College and Piedmont College. She is past president of the Calhoun Gordon Council for a Literate Community and has served on the Gordon County Chamber Board of Directors, United Way Board of Directors and Allocations Panel, Big Brothers / Big Sisters Board, Gordon Calhoun Arts Council and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa. She has served as president of the Calhoun Kiwanis Club and is a current member and Paul Harris Fellow with the Calhoun Rotary Club. She has served as chairman of Leadership Calhoun / Gordon County’s steering committee for more than ten years. Additionally, Dr. Taylor serves as past president for the Georgia School Superintendents’ Association. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders and is a member of the American Association of School Administrators’ Governing Board. She is a member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and has served on their Foundation Board of Trustees since 2013. She is part of the Schlechty Center’s Superintendents’ National Leadership Network. She is past chair of the Northwest Georgia Regional Education Service Agency’s Board of Control and is a member of the Georgia System Charter Foundation Executive Board of Directors where she currently serves as chair. Governor Nathan Deal appointed Taylor to the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission in 2017 where she continues to serve. Taylor is a member of the Cognia Georgia Council and is Chairman for Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Board of Directors. Governors Nathan Deal and Brian Kemp have included Taylor on Superintendent Advisory Councils.

Michele and her husband Joe have two children. Joseph is a junior at Georgia Tech in the Music Technology Program and Anna is a sophomore accounting student at Erskine College in South Carolina where she is also a member of the Flying Fleet Softball Team. Joe is employed by the Gordon County Clerk’s Office. All proud graduates of Calhoun High School, the Taylors are active in the community and attend Calhoun First Baptist Church.

Board Vice-Chair: Putnam County Superintendent

Dr. Morris Leis, Superintendent of Coffee County Schools, started his tenure in Coffee County in August of 2011. He began his educational career as a social studies teacher in the Ben Hill County Schools. Throughout his career in Fitzgerald, he gained valuable experience serving as an alternative school director, athletic director, assistant principal and principal of Ben Hill Elementary and Fitzgerald High Schools.

In 2009, Dr. Leis became the superintendent of the Wayne County Schools in Jesup, Georgia. Dr. Leis successfully managed the system during the “great recession” while increasing student achievement.

Completing his 10th year serving as Superintendent of the Coffee County Schools, Dr. Leis has led the district through many initiatives. Dr. Leis successfully led the system through AdvancED/Cognia Accreditation Reviews in 2014 and 2019. Under his leadership, Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) Referendums were overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2013 and 2018.

Test scores have positively increased, graduation rates have improved and the school system developed their own Safety Department providing a Chief of Police and police officers on every school campus. In 2017, the school system opened the new Wiregrass Regional College and Career Academy on the campus of Wiregrass Technical College. The school district was named the Georgia Charter System of the Year in 2018.

Kenneth Dyer was selected in February 2017 by the Dougherty County Board of Education to become the Dougherty County School System’s (DCSS) superintendent after having served as Associate Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer.

Dyer earned his Bachelors and Master’s degrees in the areas of accounting and business administration (finance), respectively, from Albany State University. Dyer’s 27-year professional career includes experience in municipal government, commercial construction and as a small business owner; but, he is most known for his experience as an educational leader.

Serving over 24 years in leadership roles at the secondary and post-secondary education levels, Dyer served as the vice president and chief financial and operations officer at three colleges/universities prior to joining the DCSS in 2011.

Dyer has provided stellar leadership since he came to the DCSS and is largely credited with leading the school system out of difficult financial times. It is Dyer’s visionary and capable leadership, as well as his passion for improving the lives of the students and families of the DCSS that led the Dougherty County Board of Education to promote him to the superintendency. In addition, it has been his effective stewardship that enabled the school system to invest in several initiatives resulting in improved student achievement.

The 2012 graduate of Leadership Albany is active in the Albany/Dougherty community by serving as a Deacon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a member of the Boards of Directors of Albany Technical College, and the Boys and Girls Club of Albany, as well as a member of the Boards of Trustees for the Georgia School Boards Association Risk Management Fund, and the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia. He previously served on the Board of Directors for Leadership Albany.

Dyer is married to Dr. Stephanie H. Dyer and they have two beautiful daughters, Kenadi and Kendyl.

Dr. Grant Rivera is a career educator committed to serving every child and supporting every family. He believes great schools and communities are built on the combined talents of talented educators and an engaged community. He serves as the Superintendent of Marietta City Schools, becoming the 13th superintendent since 1892, leading the district’s 11 schools, approximately 8,900 students and 1,200 employees. Prior to this position, he served as the Chief of Staff for the Cobb County School District, which has 112 schools and over 111,000 students. He was a principal for nine years at three high schools: South Cobb High School in Austell (2005-2009), Campbell High School in Smyrna (2009-2011), and Westlake High School in South Fulton County (2011-2014). Prior to being appointed principal, Grant held positions as a high school assistant principal, special education teacher, and coach in the Cobb County School District.
Grant received his bachelor’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Alabama. He holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Alabama, with an emphasis in school law. Grant has been associated with numerous professional development activities in the area of school law, school law enforcement officer research, and special education law.

He also served as adjunct professor of educational law at the University of West Georgia. Grant has worked with school districts around the country as a consultant and practitioner for school improvement and family engagement. Grant and his wife, Jenn, have two daughters – Lauren and Reese.

Dr. Frederick C. Williams is a native of Plantation, Florida. He is the second son born to McKinley and Cynthia Williams. He is married to Melissa McCloud Williams and is the proud father of three children: Whitley, Frederick II, and Gracelyn.  Dr. Williams is a product of the Broward County School System, where he attended Nova High School. Upon graduation, he furthered his education at Clark-Atlanta University having earned a four-year scholarship to play football for the Clark-Atlanta University Panthers.  While attending college, he was also awarded numerous academic and athletic awards with the culminating recognition of being inducted into the Clark Atlanta University Hall of Fame in 2012.

Dr. Williams’ love and desire to help every child succeed in life led him into the field of education.  In 1993, he began his teaching career with the Dublin City School System as a teacher of physical education and a coach for the Dublin Fighting Irish Football Team. Dr. Williams furthered his education earning a Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) degree from Troy University, followed by a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree from Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Williams serves on numerous educational and leadership boards across the state of Georgia.  Locally, this also includes a recent appointment to the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority.  Moreover, Dr. Williams is an active partner with the Heart of Georgia RESA district, a member of the Dublin-Laurens Rotary International, serves on the Dublin-Laurens Board for United Way, and is a Trustee on the Middle Georgia State University Foundation Board.

Dr. Williams became the Superintendent of Dublin City Schools in 2015.  Under his leadership, the district has earned annual Exemplary Board status through the Georgia School Boards Association.  Additionally, the District was recently selected Charter System of the Year for the state by the Charter System Foundation of Georgia.  Dr. Williams also serves as the Pastor-Teacher of Turkey Creek Missionary Baptist Church located in Laurens County.

Graduate of Madison County High School 1987
Piedmont College Graduate 1991-(Accounting)- Played Baseball 4 Years

Began teaching in the fall of 1994,after earning a teaching certificate, at Banks County Middle School.
Moved to Banks County High School in 1999 and taught physical education and special education until 2005.
Earned a Master’s Degree from Clemson University in 2005 and began as an Assistant Principal and CTAE Director in 2005.
Earned a Specialist Degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2007.
Served four years as Principal at Banks County Elementary School from 2010-2014

Moved to Madison County as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in 2014.  Held that position until 2018.
Named Superintendent of Madison County Charter School System in 2018. 

Dr. Lynn M. Plunkett has over 30 years’ experience in education, having worked at the local and state levels, as a teacher and administrator. She retired from the Floyd County Charter School System in 2012, having served as superintendent since 2007 and Deputy Superintendent from 2001-2007. Under her leadership, Floyd County Schools became a member of the second cohort of charter systems in the state. She also led the development and implementation of the charter for the Floyd County College and Career Academy.  She has held numerous leadership positions in other Georgia school districts and at the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Plunkett currently works as an independent consultant with state agencies, non-profits, and school districts, primarily in the areas of educational leadership development, business/education partnerships , career pathways development, and charter system and career academy development and implementation. As a consultant, she has been instrumental in the development and project management of several education/workforce initiatives in Georgia. These include, but are not limited to, leading the development of the GaDOE Career Pathways courses and serving as state team leader for Georgia’s partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Jobs for the Future Pathways to Prosperity Network.

Through her consulting work, she has provided technical assistance and professional development for charter systems and college and career academies under contracts with the GaDOE, Charter System Foundation and Technical College System of Georgia. She has also worked with college and career academies and charter systems on the performance contract renewal process.  She has been an adjunct college professor, specializing in leadership development. She has served on various boards of directors, including Georgia School Superintendents’ Association, American Association of School Administrators, and Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Plunkett is a Certified School Improvement Specialist (The Institute for Performance Improvement, Downers Grove, Illinois) and has presented at numerous state and national conferences. Dr. Plunkett’s depth of experience and knowledge enables her to provide a full complement of consulting services.

A graduate of Berry College, The University of West Georgia and Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Plunkett holds BA, M.Ed., Ed.S, and Ed.D degrees. She and her husband, Ron, live in Rome, Georgia. She may be contacted through the Foundation or directly at lplunkett@gmail.com or 706-506-6993.

Dr. Emily Lembeck served as Marietta City Schools (MCS) Superintendent from 2005 until she retired Jan. 2017.  Under the leadership of Dr. Lembeck Marietta City Schools became one of Georgia’s first Charter School Systems in 2008, thus her on-going commitment to supporting the work of innovative charter systems throughout Georgia through the Charter System Foundation.

A graduate of Brooklyn College in New York, Dr. Lembeck holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Administration and Supervision from Nova University in Florida, and a Bachelor in Early Childhood from Brooklyn College in New York.

She was named the Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendent’s Association in 2012; and has received the Cobb NAACP “Living the Dream” Award, the Boy Scouts of America Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award, Blacks United for Youth (BUY) Justice Robert Benham Award, and the Marietta Daily Journal Cobb County Citizen of the Year Award – to name a few.

During her tenure as Superintendent Dr. Lembeck was an active member of many professional committees and organizations including Leadership Cobb Class of 2000, Cobb Education Consortium, and the Governor’s Office for Children and Families Georgia Children’s Cabinet. She also served on the board of the Marietta Schools Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Marietta, the Boys and Girls Club, Cobb Community Services Board and Board of Health, United Way Regional Commission on Homelessness, Communities in Schools of Cobb/Marietta, Cobb County Library Foundation, and had a long-term affiliation with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education.  She continues to serve her community in a variety of ways, notably in support of literacy development and working with children at the Emily Lembeck Early Learning Center the name of which was an honor bestowed upon her by Marietta City Schools.

Susan Avant is a retired educator and leader with more than 30 years of experience. She began her career in education in 1993 as a paraprofessional in Liberty County. She graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, and began teaching mathematics in Bryan County. Susan soon moved back to Liberty County and continued her career as a teacher and leader. During this time, she obtained a Master of Arts in Education in 2006, and Education Specialist in 2007 from Nova Southeastern University. After serving as a teacher and instructional coach at the school, Susan embarked on a new journey in district level leadership. She has served as a Mathematics Teaching and Learning Specialist, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, and Chief Academic Officer.

Susan currently serves on several advisory boards for teacher preparation programs and is a member of the First District RESA P20 Collaborative, working in conjunction with higher education partners to increase teacher effectiveness. While in Liberty County, she led the development and implementation of the charter for the Liberty County School System. She also led the strategic planning process and school improvement efforts for the district. During her leadership in Teaching and Learning, the Liberty County School System earned the GSBA Leading Edge Award and Apple Distinguished Program award for innovative programs in technology and professional learning.  In her leadership capacity, graduation rate has increased over the past five years. Susan has led the district in receiving numerous grants that promoted innovative best practices, resources, and professional learning for all staff.  She also serves on various professional committees and organizations within the district and community. 

Susan is married with two children. She enjoys spending time at their home in coastal Georgia with family and friends. 

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Dr. Shawn Utley is recently retired from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College where he served as the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Utley spent 32 years in education in Georgia prior to his retirement. Over those 32 years, he has worked in K12 as a teacher, a coach, an assistant principal, and a principal. On the college level, he worked for the Technical College System of Georgia for 17 years serving as a Vice President of Operations, VP of Economic Development, VP of Community and College Relations, Interim President of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, and now works part-time with the college as a projects analyst.
He served as the Chairman of the Tift County Board of Education from 2008-20012, member of the graduate faculty at Valdosta State University, served on the Governor’s Education Advisory Board, Governor’s Race to The Top Advisory Board, GSBA Board Chair Advisory Council, and has been actively involved in many local civic organizations over the years.
Dr. Utley was recognized in 2006 by TCSG for his leadership in Dual Enrollment Initiatives, Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40, a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Valdosta State’s Outstanding Doctoral Graduate in ’05, and the J. Lamar Branch Award recipient in 2007.
He and his wife Melisa have been married 32 years. She is a recently retired elementary school counselor. Together they have two children, Nick and Katie. Nick and Katie both practice law in Atlanta.
He can be contacted at shawnu19@gmail.com or by phone at 229-821-1180.

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With over 25 years experience in public affairs, 12 serving as Legislative Counsel and Policy Director for the Office of Lt. Governor, Irene Munn leads The Munn Firm, a workforce solutions, and government affairs consulting practice. Her focus is helping businesses strategically partner with Georgia’s College and Career Academies, high schools, and post-secondary education programs to create a well-trained talent pipeline for their region’s industry needs. Irene’s current workforce areas include manufacturing, healthcare, skilled trades, and support for charter high school career development.

Eric Waters served as CEO of the Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy from 2011 until he retired in 2022.  Under his leadership, the Academy received recognition as College & Career Academy of the year and produced the College and Career Academy Student of the Year.  Additionally, he has held positions in corporate leadership and as a small business owner.

Eric holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Masters’ Degrees in Business Administration, Health Administration, and Education; and a Specialist Degree in Education.

Eric has been an active member of many professional organizations including: Rotary Assistant District Governor, Rome 7 Hills Rotary President, Northwest Georgia Boy Scouts Chair S.T.E.M. Initiative, Rotary Group Study Exchange Program, New South Wales, Australia, Rome Floyd Chamber Board of Directors- Executive Committee, Workforce Investment Board of Directors-Youth Council, GCANN Legislative & Resolutions Committee, Georgia College & Career Academy Board of Directors-Executive Committee, I Works Advisory Board of Directors, FORD Next Generation Learning Community National Council Member, Georgia CTAE Leadership Advisory Council,  Rome Floyd Chamber Leadership Rome and Rome Free Clinic Board of Directors. 

Eric and his wife live in Rome.  They have two children.  He may be contacted through the Foundation or directly at ericwaters499@yahoo.com or 678-986-5571.

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